June 7, 2010
June 7, 2010


Clients want love, but come in unlovingly. As a counselor I frequently hear angry venting which goes something like this: You never spend time with me, hold me, kiss me or want to go places with me. And the response from the other partner is: I don’t enjoy being with you. Often the result is an additional charge: You are cheating on me.

After I ascertain that the couple still love each other and has sought counseling because they want to correct the situation and make a good marriage out of a one that has floundered; I then do Active Listening for a time so that each partner knows that I comprehend their feelings.

For those persons who are stuck in the hostile mode, I say, “If an adorable three year old child you felt affection for kicks you in the shines, do you feel like hugging that child?” “No one enjoys being badgered into spending quality time together if it becomes an unpleasant experience.”

I, then, suggest a number of ways to improve their relationship.
1) Decide what you want from your partner.
2) Decide what specific actions you want from your partner.
3) Ask yourself and each other , ”How do I accomplish this?”
4) Create a plan of action that can be followed.

Often the first step is the last step of my suggestion, in that the couple had a plan to attend counseling. Now we have to go back to my step one. Continued forward movement is made with Active Listening, and Positive Communication. (See other articles on those subjects.)

I send them home with their first assignment: 1) Each must find a nice quality that is true about their mate and verbally express appreciation for it. 2) Tell each other a joke or a pleasant event nightly. This is just the beginning to reaffirm a shaky marriage. In some cases this is all that is needed. For others, More counseling time may be needed to delve into other issues that may have initially contributed to their emotional distance.